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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rick Warren » Rick Warren - Doing a 'Reset' for a Better Life

Rick Warren - Doing a 'Reset' for a Better Life

Rick Warren - Doing a 'Reset' for a Better Life
TOPICS: Building a Better Life

If you'll take out your message notes, they're inside your program, we're in part three of Building a Better Life, Doing a Reset for a Better Life. Now, every parent and every child knows the meaning of the phrase, you need to take a time out. We all know what that means. You need to take a time out. Sometimes when the kids get squirrely and you unruly and irascible and everybody's uptight and upset, you go, okay, timeout, everybody go to your room, take a time out, work on your attitude, calm down, and stay in your room until you get a better attitude. It's time for a time-out. In many ways, the last year of pandemic has been a global timeout for humanity. We were all sent to our rooms to think about our attitudes. You can call it quarantining or stay at home or social distancing or whatever, but the bottom line is it's been a timeout.

Now as it appears that our timeout may be nearing an end, I just want to say that God is not at all interested in us merely resuming our old ways of living. Instead of resuming our old ways of living, our old lives, God is interested in giving us the opportunity to reset our lives, not to resume our lives, but to reset our lives. What do I mean by that? Instead of going back to your old ways, we have a chance to reboot. We have a chance to refigure, to redefine, to reset our lives at a better level, a better life, better than the good life. I've talked to you now a couple of weeks about this, the good life, you're all living the good life. You look good, you feel good, you have the goods. But the good life's not good enough. You were made for far more than the good life. You were made for what the Bible calls the better life.

As your pastor, I want to help you move up from the good life, which is good, it's certainly better than the bad life, to the better life. And as your pastor it is my job, as your spiritual counselor, your life coach in many ways, my goal, my job in life is to help you live as successful a life as possible. My calling, what God has called me to do is, to help you be the most productive, the most effective, the most fruitful you can possibly be in every area of your life for the glory of God. That's what I'm called to do. And that's why the first thing we started when all of a sudden it looked like we were gonna have a little bit of reprieve from our timeout, the first series we're starting is called Building a Better Life. But to build a better life, to build a better you, a new you, is gonna require an intentional reset. And that's why for a couple of weeks, and we're gonna continue in the future, look at the principles for resetting your life.

Now, on your message notes, I have put a definition of the term reset. To reset, here's a dictionary definition, to reset is to make a new, fresh start due to a change in circumstances, opportunities, or priorities. Changed circumstances, changed opportunities, or changed priorities. And that's exactly what COVID-19 and this global pandemic has done for us. It's given us an opportunity, new circumstances, new priorities to reset our lives. So that's why a couple weeks back we started in part one and I shared with you four principles of resetting your life after a trauma. And last year was an incredibly traumatic year, and it's really not even over yet. And we're not even sure that we're not gonna have a fourth wave of the COVID virus. But if you missed part one, I want to encourage you to go back and watch part one and part two. Last week was Easter, of course, but that was part two, watch it online at

Now, I'm not gonna cover all that material, but I just put the four principles down there and you can get all the details in watching that, if you missed it. Expect to feel mixed emotions. As you're coming back into a different kind of life, expect to feel mixed emotions. Extract the lessons you learned. Don't waste last year. Was all that pain for nothing? Did you learn anything from it? If so, write it down. Evaluate everything before resuming it. Don't just automatically fill your schedule with the same stuff you were doing before, evaluate. I've lived without it, do I need to add it back in, really? Evaluate before resuming. And then engage slowly, don't get in a hurry. God's timetable is always slower than your timetable. Don't get in a hurry.

So what I want to do today now is give you four more principles, and let's get right into it, these are from scripture, so that you can move up to a better life. And here's the first one. In order to move from the good life to the better life, to step up, to have a new you, here's the first thing you need to do. Eliminate non-essentials. Eliminate the non-essentials in my life. Now, I have mentioned to you in both previous weeks the physical and the emotional cost of trauma and chronic stress. And remember I said, it's like a battery. If you got a battery and you have one light bulb attached to it, it'll last a long time. If you attach two light bulbs to the battery, it burns out in half the time If you attach four light bulbs, it burns out in a quarter of the time. You have had many light bulbs attached to your battery this last year.

Many reasons for stress, many reasons for tension, many reasons for a trauma, traumatic events in your life. And I said, and you all obviously understand what I'm talking about on this, that nobody in the sound of my voice has the same level of energy as you did a year ago, not one of you. There's not anybody here that has the same amount of energy, that physical and emotional energy, you had a year ago. You say, "How do you know that, Rick"? Because I know what trauma does to you. And I know that the slow drip of every day this crisis has gone on it has drained you more and more and more. And so you just don't have the same level of energy that you had a year ago. That's not to say you won't get it back, but it is to say that right now you don't have it. So, since you don't have the same level of energy you did a year ago, it is absolutely important that you not waste it, that what little energy you have you don't use it on non-essentials. Does that make sense? You need to be more selective in your life, in your attitudes, in your schedule, in your calendar.

Now, the Bible specifically tells us three things that we need to eliminate in our lives, and they're the next verses there on your outline. We need to eliminate the sins that hold me back, the activities that waste my energy, and the unhealthy habits. Let me go through these, first write this down. Sins that hold me back. I need to obviously get rid of those. I don't want to pull old sins from pre-COVID into post-COVID living. Hebrews 12:1, "Let us run the race before us and let us never give up". Okay, you're in a race right now, and that race is not a 50-yard dash, it's a marathon. "Let us run the race before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives," that means eliminate, "we should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sins that hold us back". The same verse in the Contemporary English version says this, "We must throw off every weight that slows us down, especially those sins that just won't let go".

These are habitual sins in your life. If you are habitually impatient, and you were that way before COVID, you probably still are that way now. You don't want to pull that sin into the new you. If you are habitually, you lose your cool, you lose your anger, your temper, that's a problem. If you habitually become fearful or you are habitually anxious, or you worry, you chronically worry or you get jealous, or a thousand other different attitudes, sins that I could list, all of those things, you don't want to take those with you into the new you. So he says, we want to let go. We want to eliminate the sins that hold me back. By the way, we'll come back and cover these in detail in other messages. Number two, though, is activities that waste my energy. That's the next verse.

I want to eliminate activities that waste my energy. These things are not necessarily wrong, they're just not necessary. There are a lot of things in your life, it's not sin, but it's just not worth your energy. First Corinthians 6:12, "Everything is permissible for me". In other words, I can do anything, "but not everything is beneficial". It's not the difference between bad and good, it's the difference between good and better, and moving from the good life to the better life. "Everything is permissible, not everything's beneficial. Everything's permissible, but not everything, I won't be mastered by anything". I'm not gonna let anything control my life, and you shouldn't let anything control your life either. Sins holding me back, activities that waste my energy, and the third verse talks about unhealthy habits. I need to eliminate unhealthy habits.

And here's what Ephesians chapter four says. "Get rid of your old self". That's pretty clear, "Get rid of your old self, which made you live like you used to live," pre-COVID. "The old destructive patterns". If you're taking notes, circle that phrase, "the old destructive patterns". What are old destructive patterns? Unhealthy habits that weren't good for you. Unhealthy habits, "The old destructive patterns that were rooted in deceitful desires". They were based on lies that Satan tells us. "Instead, let your heart and mind be made completely new". This is a reset. "Let your heart and mind be made completely new. Put on your new self," that's the new you, "which is created to be like God, and it shows itself in the true life," the true life, that's the better life, "in the true life that is right and good". That's where we're going, folks. That's where we're going, to the true life. That's the right life for you and it's the good life for you, but it's better than just the good life, it's, as the Bible calls it, the better life. So it starts by letting go of some stuff.

I remember one time I went to dinner with a couple that I had done their wedding years and years ago. And it was a second marriage for both of them. And the woman told me at dinner, she said, "You know, Rick, when I walked down that aisle in that white dress, I did not realize that I was carrying a giant garbage bag of garbage from my previous relationship into my new one". I'm going, what an apt picture. You don't want to do that pre-COVID and post-COVID. You don't want to take the garbage that was in your life that didn't work, the habits, the hurts, the hang ups, the sins, the activities that wasted energy, you don't want to go walking into the future with that garbage, you want to let it go. And we'll talk about more how to do this in the future. How do you eliminate the non-essentials?

Now, the second principle for resetting your life is the complementary action to this first one, and it is this, excel at what really matters. Excel at what really matters. That means you stop focusing on the stuff that doesn't matter and you start focusing on the stuff that does matter. You eliminate the non-essentials and you emphasize and you excel at what really matters. Watch this on the screen. Now, the next principle resetting my life is the complementary action, and it is this, excel at what really matters. That's the next thing you want to focus on in the months ahead post-COVID. Eliminate what's not essential and excel on what is essential. Excel on what really matters most. Excel on what is right and true.

Friends, I want to tell you this from personal experience. You don't have to be good at everything to make it in life. There are thousands of things I'm terrible at, just thousands of things that I'm not good at. You don't have to be good at everything. You don't have to, you don't need to be good at everything. God doesn't expect you to be good at everything. But to live the better life, this upgraded life, not the good life, but the better life, to live the better life, you just need to be good at what's the most important. And if you're good at what's most important, it doesn't matter if you're terrible at everything else. If you're good at what matters most, it's not gonna matter that you're not good at this, this, this, this, and this, 'cause you're not gonna be good at everything anyway.

So when you get to heaven, God isn't gonna say, for instance, how coordinated were you? Some of you are really coordinated. God gave you natural coordination. Some of us, we're not coordinated at all. Some of you are good with math. Some of you suck at math. Some of you are good at music. Others, you couldn't carry a tune in a baggie. You have a voice that should be cultivated, plowed under, actually. You're a prison singer, you're always behind a few bars and never have the right key. And so you don't have to be good at it. The Bible just says make a joyful noise. You don't have to be good at everything. What matters, excelling at really matters is the key to the better life. I eliminate the non-essentials and then I excel at what really matters.

Now, what really matters? Well, in order to excel at what really matters, in the days ahead, you're gonna have to develop three habits. You're not gonna do this overnight, but you're gonna work on these habits in the days ahead so you move from the good life to the better life. These three habits are the three verses there on your teaching notes below. And by the way, they're all intertwined. You can't leave out any of them. So let me give you the three habits. We'll look at three verses. Here's the first habit, you really need to work on post-pandemic, first habit, managing my time. You need to get better at managing your time if you're gonna move to the better life. Not simply from the good life, but up to the better life. Managing your time, selection is the name of the game.

The secret of an effective life is selection, knowing what matters most and doing that. Managing your time. One of the big differences between successes in life and failures in life, or for that matter, the difference between living a good life and living the better life is that people who live the better life do a better job of using their time. People who live the better life do a better job of using their time, why? Because time is your most precious resource. Your time is your life. If you waste time, you're wasting your life, because you're never getting that back. Time is your most precious commodity, not money, time, why? Because you can always get more money, but you can't always get more time. We, everybody here, we all have the exact same amount of time, 168 hours a week. And the difference between people who live a good life, people who live the better life, the people who live the better life make a better use of that 168 hours a week.

One time I was talking to Bill Gates at a conference, and I asked him, I said, "Bill," at that time he the wealthiest man in the world, I said, "How do you use your money"? He said, "Rick, the best use of money is use it to save time". I go, "That's brilliant," it's brilliant, why? Because you can get more money, but you can't get more time. And so one of the ways, good ways to use money is to use it to save time. Time is your most precious resource. Now, here's a prayer that you can pray every day. Psalm 90:12, "Lord, teach us to make the most of our time so that we may grow in wisdom". That's a good prayer to start praying post-COVID. Lord, teach me to use my time wisely, teach me to make the most of my time so that I may grow in wisdom.

By the way, how does God teach you to make the most of your time? This book right here. The more you get in this book, the more you apply the principles, if you'll practice the principles of God's Word, you'll waste less time. That's one habit, second habit, First is managed my time, second habit is living on purpose. And that's the next verse, living on purpose. We call it purpose driven living. I don't care what you call it, just do it. Proverbs 17:24 says this, "An intelligent person aims," aims, that's purpose driven, "at wise actions". You work intentionally with your life. "But a fool starts off" how? I can't hear you, how? In many directions, in many directions.

Friends, as your pastor who loves you, the last thing I want you to do is with all the new-found freedom, when all of a sudden all the restaurants are open and everything, all the events are open and everything is open and we're all freed up again and we're not restricted, is to go out and fill your life with a bunch of stuff that doesn't matter. You gotta eliminate the non-essentials, but then you have to focus and excel on the essentials, what really does matter, they're complementary. And you do that by managing your time and living on purpose.

Now, you know, it might be a good thing to do to go back and retake the purpose-driven classes. Some of you haven't taken them in months or maybe even years. This would be a good time for a refresher course, to go back 101, 201, 301, 401. Take the classes which define and describe how to live a life of intention, how to live a life of purpose, how to not head off in all directions, but to focus on the thing that God says matters. God has five purposes for your life, not 10, not two, not one, God has five purposes for your life. And we've got a class on those purposes. So I'm just telling you as your friend and as your pastor, as somebody who loves you, I'm begging you that as the freedoms become more available again, don't just refill and repack your schedule with activities simply because you're free to do it. Leave some margin in your schedule. Do not rejoin the rat race that you have not had to be a part of for the last year. Don't head off in many directions. An intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions.

Now here's the third habit. The third habit that goes along with focusing on, excelling at what really matters, manage my time, live on purpose, number three, third habit, choose good priorities. The Bible has a lot to say about this, I'm only gonna give you one verse. I could give you hundreds of verses on choosing priorities wisely. But I love the story of how one time Jesus is visiting His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. And Martha's more worried about the meal than spending time with Jesus. And she actually complains to her sister about not helping her. And Jesus gently corrects her. And in Luke chapter 10, verses 41 and 42, Jesus says this, and I want you to hear the compassion in His voice, "My dear friend Martha". Martha, Martha, my dear friend Martha. "You worry and you fuss over so many different little things. But really, only one thing is essential," circle that, only one thing is essential, only one thing is essential, "and Mary has selected it".

What did Mary select? Spending time with Jesus. So here's the question, is spending time with Jesus the top priority in your schedule? Because if it's not, you're never gonna move from the good life to the better life. To move from the good life to the better life you have to spend time with Jesus. It should be number one on your to-do list, is it? No, probably not. On your to-do list for Monday morning, spending time with Jesus is probably not on that list. I suggest that post-COVID you start making it you're number one in your list. Excel at what really matters. Manage my time, live on purpose and choose God's priorities. Only one thing is essential, and that is spending time with Jesus.

Here's the third principle. We're moving through these pretty quickly. Third principle for resetting your life post-COVID is this, embrace the new things God does. Embrace the new things that God does. Now, I chose that word embrace intentionally because embrace means more than just agree with it, to grudgingly accept it. To embrace means to be content with it. It means to even love it. You don't embrace things you don't love. So what I'm saying here is you not only accept the new things that are happening in God's world, in God's church, in God's family, in your family, in your life, but you actually learn to love them. You need to embrace what God does. Embrace, be content, even love it. Parents, when your kids were growing up, did they change? Of course, they changed, radically changed.

Think of the change between one year and three year. Think of the change of between three years and five years. And think of the year between five and 10 and on and on and on, all of the changes that your kids went through. COVID has created a lot of changes in you and our society and culture. Not all of them are good. Not all of them are good, but the question I have is, when your kids were going through all those changes, did you stop loving your kids when they stopped being infants? No, no, you loved them at each stage of their growth. Not every stage is fun. Junior high years is like hell years. Everything seems like it's a national problem. And broken hearts and everything is life or death situation. But you know what, you loved them in their junior high years. And in fact, for your kids to not have changed and not have grown would mean one thing, tragedy. And God says the same thing about you coming out of COVID.

Now, I want to just be frank with you, as again, as your pastor who loves you, as your friend, I'm praying for you, I'm trying to help you through this difficult time. And I would say this, read my lips. Life's never going back to the way it was a year ago. I hate to let you down, I hate to tell you that, but it's not going back to the way that it was before COVID. Everything has changed, including you. The past is past. You can't go backwards in life. You can only go forward. And so you can't go back, we can't go backwards. So really what we all have is two choices. We either, A, complain and grumble and long for the way it was a year ago, or, B, we get on with life. That's it. Because all the complaining, all the grumbling and all of the regretting and all the moaning is not gonna go back to the way it was. Grumbling won't change anything, it's over.

On top of that, when you read this book, when you read scriptures, you realize that God is a God of newness. He's always doing new things. His mercies are new every morning. He doesn't do the same thing, same old, same on. And if you want to live the better life, then you're gonna need to cooperate with the new things, the new things that God is gonna do in your life, the new things God is gonna do in this church, the new things God is gonna do in your family, in your career, in your friends, the new thing God is gonna do in the world. God is a God of newness. And we have to cooperate with the new things God wants to do. Here's what scripture says, Isaiah 43:18 and 19. The Lord says, "Forget the former things," wow, "and don't dwell on the past. Instead, look at the new things I'm going to do. Look at the new things I'm going to do. They're already starting to happen. Can you see what I've begun to do"?

Now, if you're taking notes, I want you to circle the word look and I want you to circle the word see. He says, "Look for the new things I'm gonna do, and see what I've already begun to do". Why does He say that? Before you can embrace, before you can embrace the new things God is doing in your life and around you, you have to see Him first. You have to see the new things that God is doing. Can you see it? Can you see it? Are you looking for it? Well, you're not looking for it if you're always looking backwards. And if right now you're still looking back to wishing it was the way it was a year ago or more than a year ago, years ago, why can't we go back to that era of my life? Why can't we go back to that time in my life, why? Because we can't, that's why, we can't.

And always longing for the past and glorifying the past and dreaming of the past and wishing for the past is like driving a car where you're always looking in the rear view mirror and never looking out the windshield. If you're always looking in the rear view mirror, you're gonna crack up, you're gonna crash. You're gonna burn, you're gonna have an accident. You can't move forward in life longing for, I wish it were like that era of my life. Now, let me just say, I've said this in the last two messages, too, it's okay to grieve your losses, and every one of us have had major losses. I've had some enormous losses, personal losses in my life in the last year. Like Kay's mom for one thing, John Baker, Pastor John Baker. So many other dear friends, Jordan Manchow and others. And Marnie Bueller's husband, Mick. And we've all lost friends, relatives.

Some people have lost jobs, lost opportunities, lost income. Grief is the only legitimate, healthy way to handle a loss. But you need to learn how to grieve while you're keeping your eyes focused on what God wants to do next. And you need to embrace the new things that God does. I often pray a simple prayer that goes like this. God, I know you're gonna do some really great new things today in the world. I would like for you to give me the privilege of being in on some of what you're gonna do. I don't ever pray, God, bless what I'm doing. I never pray that prayer, God, bless what I'm doing. What I pray is, God help me to do what you're blessing. You're doing stuff in the world right now. I volunteer, I'm in, I want to get in on it. I'm volunteering for the future, whatever future you have for me, I'm signing up right now, I'm volunteering, I'm in.

You know, we're looking in this series at five different books, Ezra, Nehemiah, Malachi, Zephaniah, and Haggai, which were five books written to encourage God's people after they'd come out of captivity. And remember I told you, they were held captives by Babylon for 70 years. And finally they're allowed to go back home. And the first thing they want to do, re-establish worship, like we're doing right now. We hadn't worshiped here or in any of our Saddleback campuses for a year together. They hadn't worshiped together at the temple for 70 years. 70 years, can you imagine going 70 years without corporate worship at the house of worship? And so they get back and they're all excited about that.

Interesting, one of the prophets, Isaiah, who lived before the Babylonian captivity, God actually gave him a vision of the 70 year captivity that was gonna happen, He said, "This is gonna happen". And He also gave Isaiah a picture of what it was gonna be like when they finally got to come back. And He said, "Isaiah, I'm gonna show you what worship became after they got back together," after the time when they couldn't worship. It's really similar to us, similar parallel. Just like we'd been unable to worship, they hadn't been unable to worship, but for 70 years. And when I read the promise in Isaiah that God told them that He would do after they returned, I claimed that same promise for our Saddleback Church family. It is this, it's on the screen, Isaiah 49:19 and 20.

God said this, "Even though your land was unused and abandoned," this campus right here has been unused and abandoned for a year. We weren't having weekend worship. "Even though your land was unused and abandoned, it'll soon be too small for all the new people, more people than you know what to do with". This is God talking. "And the new generation that was born in exile will return and they'll say 'We need more room, it's crowded here.'" So here's the question, are we gonna bemoan a past that's never coming back and regret that, oh, Saddleback isn't the way it used to be, or are we gonna use the energy that we've got to embrace the new thing that God is gonna do through Saddleback Church? It's our choice, it's our choice. And I want to challenge you to become a pioneer. All right, a pioneer.

You say, "Well, I wasn't here when the whole thing started years ago". Doesn't matter, we're getting ready to do a restart, a reset. Saddleback has had 5.0, we're gonna go to 6.0. We had a 1.0, version 2.0, 3.0, in 41 years we've had five different versions of this church. And now post-COVID, we're getting ready to go to 6.0. And this is your opportunity. You aren't here on the very first one, the first version. But you're here now. And you can be a pioneer in Saddleback 6.0. We're gonna do that, we're doing that. We're remodeling the worship center right now in a whole new way here at Lake Forest. So let's review. we eliminate the non-essentials. That's important to do a reset in your life. And then you excel or you emphasize what really matters most, that's the corollary, focus on what matters, don't focus on what doesn't matter. Manage your time, live on purpose, choose good priorities. Then embrace the new things that God is doing and is going to do.

Now, there's one more principle, write this down. One more principle for resetting your life post-COVID world. Expect incremental change. Expect incremental change. That means little by little, incremental change. And I'm talking about in you, in me. Now, this is the exact opposite of what we normally want. We don't like incremental change. We want rapid change in our lives. we want fast change. You go on a diet, you want rapid results. You want instant transformation. You want the pill that changes you overnight. The seminar, the sermon that changes you overnight. You want the local, total make-over in one hour. By nature, we are impatient. We're always in a hurry. It's always amazing to me, when I was up there on the patio and people would come up to me after service and they'd start telling me about like maybe a marriage problem that they've got and they want me to solve their marriage problem in one conversation.

And I go, I'm thinking, it took them years to develop this problem. And I'll ask, "How long have you had this problem in your marriage"? Well, it's been years. Nobody tells me it started yesterday. You didn't just create the problem you've got right now overnight. You're not gonna get out of it overnight. You didn't create the mess you're in overnight. You're not gonna get out of it overnight. You didn't develop those bad habits overnight. You're not gonna get rid of them overnight. It's gonna take incremental change. Moving from the good life to the better life. I remember one time a guy told me, he said, "Pastor Rick, I feel like my life is flooded with problems right now. It's just like flooded with problems. And I feel like I'm drowning in the flood".

And in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about the flood that Noah had to deal with, the literal flood, and thinking that, in that flood, it didn't dissipate overnight. It took a while for it to gradually dissipate. The flood just didn't flip a switch and all of a sudden we were on dry land. In fact, Genesis chapter 8:3 says this, "The flood gradually receded". That's incremental change. "Little by little the water lowered. And after 150 days the worst was over". We're seeing that happen with this pandemic. There's not gonna be any switch that all of a sudden, boom, one day we flip and everything is back to "normal". It's not gonna happen that way. It's gonna recede little by little. And there might be other waves with other variants of the strain, we don't know. But I mentioned before in this series that God's never in a hurry, He's just not. And that God's timetable is always, always slower than yours. And that's what's so frustrating.

That's why we get frustrated, because we're in a hurry and God's not. Remember how God told the Israelites, and I mentioned this verse a couple of weeks ago, that when they were coming up to the Promised Land, He said this in Exodus 23:30. "Little by little," this is a word phrased used all through the Bible, "Little by little," He says, "I will drive the enemies out of your life, until you have grown strong enough to take full possession of the land I have given you".

Now, notice that given is past tense, I have given it to you. God has already decided how He's gonna bless your life. God has already decided your promised land. God has already decided all the really cool, good things God wants to do in the rest of your life. But He says, "I've given them to you, you're just not gonna appropriate them yet 'cause you've got to do a little growing first. You're not ready to handle all the blessing I want to give you. You're not ready to handle the prosperity, the influence, whatever I want to give you, you're not ready to handle it. So you've got to grow in character. And those problems in your life, we're gonna drive them out one at a time. We're gonna peel the onion one layer at a time. We're gonna work on this sin and then that problem, and then that habit and then this attitude, and we're gonna do it in incremental change".

So what I'm telling you about is the pathway from the good life, where you are, to the better life, where you're gonna be. It's gonna be incremental. It's not gonna be overnight. It's not ha and it's not suddenly. I did a study through the Bible this week of this phrase, little by little. I studied it all through the scripture. And I was amazed at how many different areas of your life this incremental principle of incremental growth, little by little, how God works in so many different areas of your life, relationships and money and time and career and so many. Let me just give you one example. Building your wealth. One example, Proverbs 13:11, there on your outline. Incremental growth applies to finances. "Wealth," it says, "that comes easily," "wealth that comes easily disappears quickly".

Now, you know what what means. Easy come, easy go. How many people win the lottery and it's gone in a year? Easy come, easy go. "Wealth that comes easily disappears quickly, but wealth that is gathered little by little," that's compounding interest, "will grow greater". In fact, did you know that God tells you to avoid get-rich-quick schemes? It says don't even try to get rich quick. Do it little by little. Proverbs 28:20, look up here on the screen. The Bible says this, "Commitment and persistence, persistent work pays off, but get-rich-quick schemes are rip-offs". Tell that to your next financial advisor whose got the hot deal that's gonna make you a ton of money overnight. Proverbs 28:20 says there in the Living Bible, New Living Translation, "A trustworthy person," that means if you're trusted, you can be trusted, "a trustworthy person will get a rich reward. But the person who wants to get rich quick will only get into trouble".

That's the little by little principle in just one area, your finances. The point that I'm trying to make though is this, moving from the good life, where you are right now, to the better life, the life that God's already planned for your life, so that the rest of your life's the best of your life, it's not gonna be a single leap. It's not gonna be a single experience. It's not even gonna be a single decision. There will be many decisions in your life. It starts with a decision, but it happens through incremental change. It's a slow process. It's gonna take the rest of your life. And that slow process is called in the Bible sanctification. It's also called discipleship, one of the five purposes of our church. And it's our job, it starts with the decision, but it continues with a continuing commitment.

Let me give you one last verse and we'll wrap it up. In Isaiah 26:3 and four, it talks about this continuing commitment, you keep at it, you keep at it. You just don't do one thing and then stop. Isaiah 26:3 and four in the Message says this. "Lord, people who set their minds on you," who set their minds on you, "you will keep completely whole and steady on their feet". Now, let's stop right there. No matter what happens in this next year, no matter what happens with COVID in this next year, do you want to be completely whole? And do you want to be steady on your feet? Then you need to do what that verse says. If you want to be completely whole, no matter what happens in society, it could fall apart, and you want to be steady on your feet, it says you keep your mind on the Lord. Keep your mind on the Lord. It says, "Lord, people who set their mind on you, you keep completely whole and steady on their feet because they keep at it," they keep at it, "and they don't quit," that's incremental. They keep at it and don't quit.

So depend on God and keep at it, because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. That's the one thing you can count on is your relationship to God, that's a sure thing. Nothing else is sure in life, but that's a sure thing. So let me ask you a very pointed question, in the post-pandemic world, post-COVID, what are you gonna do when you get all the freedoms that you had before? What are you gonna do? Are you gonna resume the old life? Or are you gonna reset a new life? It's your choice. Now, will you futilely attempt, and I mean futilely attempt, to resume your old life just like it was before the pandemic with no changes at all? Will you resume the rat race? Will you return to your old habits and hurts and hang ups? Will you refill your life with the same old pressures and patterns and problems?

As somebody who loves you, I will tell you this. If you try to do this, it's not gonna work. It's not gonna work because you can't go back. The past is past, you can't go back to the way things were. And if you try to do this, it's gonna reduce you to resenting and grumbling and complaining and being frustrated and being unhappy, because you're never going back. Or number two, will you use this God-given opportunity to let God reset your life for the rest of your life? You're coming out of time out. And will you become a brand new you, a better you? You're not living the good life anymore. You're living the better life that God has always intended for you to live.

Now, if you choose the second option, I want to promise you this, as your pastor, I will promise you this, that if you say, God, I'm committing to let you reset my life, then I and all the other pastors of this church, we will do everything possible to help you succeed in your life reset. We will pray for you. We will teach you how to do it. We will encourage you. We will support you when you screw up, as we all do. And when you're going through the tough spots that are inevitable, we will support you. But it only starts with your decision, and it starts with your commitment, your choice. Are you ready for this new journey? Are you all in? Are you willing to do what it takes as we come out of a global timeout and go, I'm not going back to the old me? I'm moving up to the better life. If you're in, I'd like for you to let me know about that.

If you say, hey, Rick, I'm in. I'm all in for a reset on my life, my family, my career, my relationships, my health, my church, Saddleback 6.0, whatever, whatever we're going, I am going to celebrate, I'm going to embrace the new things God does in my life, here's what I want you to do. I want you to pull out this card, and I want you to write the word reset on it. You say, "Why do you want me to do that"? So I can pray for you by name. It's my job to pray for you. I've prayed for you every day in the last year. And I want you to pull this out, just write your name. If you want to put your phone number on there, forget all the other stuff and write in big letters, reset, so I can start praying for you. At the close of service you can just give it to an usher or drop it in the basket or wherever we can collect these. If you're watching online right now, you can text me to 83000, the word reset, and just say, I'm in, I'm in for the better life. And I'm not gonna waste the rest of my life. Let's bow our heads. Why don't you just say this to God?

God, I don't want to resume the old me. I want to reset to a new me. I want to eliminate the non-essentials in my life, the attitudes, the actions, the sins, the unimportant stuff, the habits that have held me back so far. I don't want to go into the new era with the old habits. Lord, I want to focus, I want to excel. I want to emphasize what really matters most. Help me to make the most of my time. Help me to aim at wise action and not start off in all directions. Help me to remember that the most essential thing is to spend time with you every day. Father, I want to embrace the new things that you want to do in my life post-COVID. I want to look at the new things that you're gonna do and I want to be a part of what you're gonna do in the world. I'm signing up, I volunteer, use me. I want to be a part of your actions in the world. And Lord, when I get in a hurry and when I get frustrated and when I get impatient, help me to remember that you use incremental change. That the little by little principle is the way that I will grow and move from the good life to the better life. God, I need you to keep me steady on my feet and to keep me completely whole no matter what happens, because I'm thinking about you. My mind is stayed and focused on you, and I want to depend on you and I want to keep at it. And I need our church and I need other people in my life for that support. And I want to be a support to others.

If you've never opened your life to Christ, say:

Jesus Christ, come into my life and make me the person you want me to be. I want to get to know you. I want you to save me. And I humbly ask you to accept me into your family. Help me to understand it. In your name I pray, amen.

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